Much like actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman, federal prosecutors accused Miami developer Robert Zangrillo of paying third party entities to get his daughter into USC.
He was swept up in the “Varsity Blues” scandal, and facing a trial later this year in Boston on charges related to fraud, bribery and money laundering.
However, as President Trump’s presidency was winding down on Wednesday, Trump granted a full pardon for Zangrillo that ended his legal troubles and angered justice department officials.
Zangrillo allegedly hired people that worked with the mastermind of the scandal, Rick Singer, to secretly complete his daughter’s high school classes. Processors also said that Zangrillo paid a quarter of a million dollars to get his daughter into the school as a recruit for the crew team.
U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling ripped Zangrillo for “having his own daughter knowingly participate in a scheme to lie to USC.”
While numerous parents have already pled guilty to plea bargains and served their short jail sentences, Zangrillo’s Varsity Blues case was different because he was the only parent accused of paying third parties to do his daughter’s class work. He then allegedly arranged for her to go through USC’s admissions process as an athletic recruit.
After Zangrillo’s daughter was accepted into USC, he sent $50,000 to the athletic department at USC and another $200,000 to Singer.
Unlike the other parents caught up in the scandal, Zangrillo fought his charges hard. He hired an A-list law team to try to show that USC routinely admitted the children of donors and other prominent VIP applicants.